Adolescence, Female Friendship, Space, Closet, Solidarity
This article examines the representation of friendship between adolescent girls in two novels by Silvia Avallone: Acciaio, published in 2010, and Un’amicizia of 2020. After identifying thematic points of contact between the two texts, which include adolescent coming of age, and the separation from parents as a rite of passage, the question of social class, and literary setting, the article focuses on the girls’ intimate friendship, their corporeal performances of sexuality, and their engagement with their surroundings. The adolescent girls adopt spaces of seclusion, or closet spaces (BROWN 2000), as a means of playing out the domestic sphere, exploring their sexuality and, ultimately, solidifying their friendship. I contend that in both of Avallone’s novels, the centrality of the adolescent girls’ friendship forms an original and highly engaging narrative strategy, as seen in the writer’s exploration of the intensity of the bond between two best friends, including an acknowledgement of same-sex desire. I posit that the writer’s depiction of female friendship is in part influenced by patriarchal norms, not only in her adoption of the male gaze, but also in that the relationship between the two girls is marked by rivalry, jealousy and conflict, thus undermining what might otherwise be deemed a feminist strategy and the potential for female solidarity (RAYMOND 1986).